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Working at Height Hierarchy of Control

Managing work at height follows a hierarchy of controls – avoid, prevent, arrest – which begins with the question – can the work be done safely from the ground?


Fall arrest should only be considered as a last resort if other safety equipment cannot be used.


Working out what process or equipment you need can be difficult and sometimes confusing.


Where can Bettersafe International help you provide the necessary and safest form of fall protection?  Our guides and info graphics can take some of the confusion out of your decision making.

Working at Height Regulations: What it means…

Since the inception of the WAH Regulations in 2005 there have been many articles and documents written around the Hierarchy of Measures.  And many of these have failed to completely portray the complete story in such a way as to explain it in a way that can be used.


The Hierarchy of Measures.


Called both the Hierarchy of Measures, and also the Hierarchy of Controls, traditionally the hierarchy for fall protection has been broken into a few small and broad reaching sections.


  • Avoid: Do the work from the ground wherever you can.
  • Passive Safety: Install protection that requires little or no input from the worker
  • Fall Restraint: Install protection that requires the use of PPE and training
  • Fall Arrest: Install protection that requires the use of PPE, rescue equipment and detailed training.


This has been expanded by some bodies, and the best we have come across from elsewhere is the visual aid used by both IOSH in the UK and OSHA in the United States.


However, this still does not give you a means by which you can arrive at a solution easily.  Like many things that come from Government bodies, the information out there is not overly directing in its nature.


Where do you begin?


When looking at working at height it can be somewhat daunting to begin deciding on what you should do.


In order to ease the process, we have come up with a series of aids that can assist in the decision of where to go.


The first is a flow chart that determines the best solution for you and your situation, the second is an infographic that depicts the stages within our expanded version of the hierarchy.  These tools, used in conjunction with each other can lead you to the point where the solution is obvious, prior to any actual product being looked at.


The simplest way of making fall protection solutions available is to follow a simple Yes / No approach to the questions you need to answer.


We have taken the thought process that is borne from the hierarchy and boiled the content down to ten simple questions.  These questions will work for around 90% of scenarios, and anything over these would require the assistance of a Health and Safety professional or even a fall protection specialist consultant.


But, fall protection solution selection is not difficult, far from it.  Done right it is one of the simplest things to get to, even if we only arrive at the generic solution.  Once we have this decided on then we have the fun of deciding on the supplier and manufacturer of the product type we have selected.


These questions are:


  1. Do you need to work at height?
  2. Is the work a regular maintenance access issue, or a temporary access issue?
  3. Can you use passive or collective safety?
  4. Can you use restraint PPE and Anchorage solutions?
  5. Can you provide adequate training?
  6. Can a rescue plan be implemented?
  7. Can you use a Scaffold system?
  8. Can you use a Mobile Elevated Work Platform?
  9. Is the work light in nature?
  10. Is the work short in duration?


So, now you have the questions it is time to look at how we put those questions into practice.


To read more please take a look at the downloads below, and then take a trip to our Resource Centre